“Young Authors Conference” inspiring U.P. youth

More than 3,000 4th and 5th graders from 17 different schools across the U.P. took over Northern Michigan University today for the annual Young Authors Conference.

Noted Children’s book author and illustrator Matt Novak was on hand to greet students as they arrived. The 4–day conference allows students to share some of the work they wrote and illustrated with local presenters and pen pals. It also gave them a glimpse of the future, with a chance to have lunch on a college campus.

“We started doing it to give an extra push for literacy and trying to make reading and writing to students very exciting for them and to show them real authors out there and to let them meet a person who has a story published,” said Andrea Kleinpaste.

“Getting kids excited about being creative and getting them excited about doing their own writing.  If my work can do that or if my being here does that, get them excited, then that’s great,’ said Matt Novak, Author/Illustrator.

Students received additional encouragement from teachers and volunteers in the audience, as they shared their stories.

I really like writing and I want to be an author when I grow up,” said Emma Kargela, Future Author.

“I created a book about football, that’s what I play and I am going into Pop Warner this year,” said Gavin Stapleton, 4th Grader.

“It’s about a girl and her pet hampster that are trying to teach a man a lesson about not taking things that aren’t yours, continued Kargela.

The conference, which wraps up on Thursday, also incorporates music and dance sessions, high school visits, library crafts, and book signings with Novak.